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If The Data's Good, Use It--Regardless Of The Source

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency became embroiled in controversy over the question of using results from Nazi scientists. An agency report had included data from experiments conducted on French prisoners investigating the toxicity of phosgene. Once the fact became known, the response was swift; 22 EPA scientists petitioned the agency administrator, Lee Thomas, to expunge the offending data from the report, and Thomas obligingly complied. When I read about the ruckus in t

Alan Nixon

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency became embroiled in controversy over the question of using results from Nazi scientists. An agency report had included data from experiments conducted on French prisoners investigating the toxicity of phosgene. Once the fact became known, the response was swift; 22 EPA scientists petitioned the agency administrator, Lee Thomas, to expunge the offending data from the report, and Thomas obligingly complied.

When I read about the ruckus in the April 1,1988, issue of Science, I wondered at first, because of the date, if it was some sort of a spoof. But it wasn’t—and I felt that there were some things that needed saying. So in the Nick Nacks column in the May issue of my newsletter, the Vortex (a publication of the California Section of the American Chemical Society), I wrote, “In view of the fact that there is practically no human dose-response...

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